Canadian officials indirectly contributed to the arrest and torture of three Canadian citizens in Syria and Egypt, a Canadian inquiry has found.
Canadians Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin were arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence during trips abroad between 2001 and 2004 on allegations of having links to al-Qaeda.
All three were later released without charge.
Frank Iacobucci, a retired supreme court judge who conducted the inquiry, concluded the men had been tortured with methods such as beatings with electric cables, burning with cigarettes and being kicked in the genitals.
He said in a news conference on Tuesday: "Mistakes were made ... detention and mistreatment were connected to those mistakes, in my view, in an indirect way.''
Iacobucci said in his report the mistreatment of the men did not result directly from any Canadian action, but Canadian officials indirectly led to the torture of El Maati and Almalki and probably to that of Nureddin, who he concluded had also been tortured in Egypt.
Each of the three, born in Kuwait, Syria and Iraq respectively, had claimed upon return to Canada to have been tortured and that Canadian security officials had labeled them as "terrorists" and supplied their captors with intelligence and lists of questions to ask them.
I think of this as enlightened outsourcing. Don't want to have to torture your own citizens at home? Just wait until they are traveling abroad and tell either the Syrians or the Egyptians that they're terrorists and you've got a list of questions you'd like answered. That way you don't have to go to the trouble or inconvenience of setting up your own Gitmo.